learn / 2015

Los Angeles Youth Entrepreneurship Pathway Initiative

Los Angeles Youth Entrepreneurship Pathway Initiative

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Greater Los Angeles

NFTE Greater LA proposes to expand our program enrollment to reach additional youth in the Los Angeles community. We also propose to build a pathway and continuum of support between our current program offerings: Exploring Careers (middle school), Startup Tech (middle school app development program), Entrepreneurship (high school), Startup Summer (alumni accelerator) and Alumni Programming that addresses the NFTE alumni ongoing needs for support in their business, career and education goals.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • South Bay
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Implement a pilot or new project
  • Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • Youth unemployment and underemployment
  • Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

Entrepreneurial thinking and behavior are crucial skills for success in the 21st Century. We live in a world that looks fundamentally different than ever before – with economies evolving faster and more fluidly than in the past. One in three employers say they are looking for entrepreneurial experience in their potential hires. To be successful in today’s workforce, youth need to know how to recognize opportunity, take initiative, solve difficult problems, and remain resilient and confident in the face of challenges. NFTE Greater LA is working to equip our youth with entrepreneurial skills that will benefit them for a lifetime. Funds from the LA2050 Challenge will enable us to expand our program enrollment and build a pathway for students to progress through NFTE’s program offerings.

Exploring Careers: Exploring Careers is a curriculum targeting middle school and early high school students. It provides youth with an opportunity to learn about the variety of industries in which they may wish to pursue a career. Students gain a foundation in entrepreneurship and develop a business concept in their desired industry area. Students pitch their business ideas in a science fair-type format to an audience of peers, family and the school and business communities. NFTE has a second textbook and accompanying training and program materials to support the Exploring Careers classes. Entrepreneurship: Teachers draw upon our 11th edition textbook, Entrepreneurship: Owning Your Future to teach entrepreneurship concepts. Along with the textbook, The NFTE program includes experiential activities that connect these concepts to “real world” situations. For example, during the Wholesale Field Trip, students are given $25 to purchase products from the LA Fashion District to resell at a school selling event. This activity helps students practice negotiation skills, calculate their breakeven point, market their products and deliver great customer service. Activities like these occur throughout the class, keeping students engaged and excited through hands on learning. Throughout the class, students research and write a business plan (both a PowerPoint as well as a narrative form business plan.) At the close of the course, students compete in a series of business plan competitions that begin in the classroom and proceed to the national level.

Startup Summer enrolls 15 advanced NFTE grads annually to seed and launch.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

The NFTE Program Team uses Salesforce to monitor completion of our core units of learning and our key experiential activities. To measure our impact, we use:

  • Pre-Post Testing: Schools implement our standard pre- and post- test survey to capture short-term outcomes of entrepreneurship education related to the ‘entrepreneurial mindset’. These surveys assess NFTE’s impact on students’ career ready skills. *Periodic Knowledge Assessments: NFTE students take part in a Diagnostic Assessment at the start of NFTE, and a Summative Assessment at the close. They also may take four unit assessments throughout the course to track their knowledge gains. These tools are analyzed by NFTE’s Research Team and enable us to pinpoint areas in need of further focus. Outputs:
    1. 2,300 students served
    2. 90% of students will complete business plans in 2015-2016
    3. 90% of students will demonstrate a 15% increase in business knowledge
    4. 80% of teachers will fulfill their Teacher Objectives Contract

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support